Since we are living on a very tight budget, the first thing I ask any time we need to spend money is “how can I get this cheaper than the normal price?” Here’s how I have managed to get a whole bunch of things much cheaper than usual…
- I Google everything. Coupons (both printable and online), reviews (sometimes reviewers will tell you about particular specials at a restaurant or business), the website of the business I am interested in (by checking out the website, for example, we found that the expensive lunch we had was exactly the same as the much more expensive dinner at a restaurant so this saved us $50 on the meal), competitor’s websites (I’ve found drastic price differences between the major bookseller’s websites just by checking both before ordering).
- I watch for signs. A few days ago we were at the Goodwill and a big sign on the wall noted that Wednesdays were senior day where all seniors would get an extra 50% off their purchases. You can be sure I will be dragging my senior (hubby) back to the Goodwill on Wednesday!
- I always ask for discounts. I always ask if there is an extra discount for seniors (hubby), veterans (hubby), locals (me), as well as any other discount I can think of (ie: sometimes late in the day at the swapmeet vendors will highly discount produce and other items just to clear them out before they leave). I ask for discounts if there is a flaw in a clothing item I am buying. I ask for discounts for larger purchases if I will be paying cash instead of using credit. I ask for discounts on big things (cruises) and small things (if I buy a bunch of items at a garage sale). Always ask, the worst the person can do is say no.
- I always comparison shop online. I know brick and mortar stores hate this but whenever I see an item I want in a store I always check the price online. This can save a lot of money and with such excellent search engines (I use Google) you may find a much lower price on the item down the street or across the country (be sure to find out about free shipping).
- I keep a written list of specials. For example, we know that Tuesdays are 99 cents for two pieces of chicken day at Popeyes, that Tuesdays are senior day at the Orleans Casino and Thursdays are senior day at the Palms Casino, and that Southpoint Casino offers $4 movies for senior during the day Monday thru Friday. There are so many specials around here, both one-time and permanent-type specials, that I write them down so I won’t forget about them.
- I ask around. I have some friends that are super shoppers and if there is a bargain to be found they probably know where to find it so I ask them before I go out blindly searching for an item on my own. I also post to local message boards if I am looking for something specific (where’s a good, cheap car fixing place?) and I try to help people via the message boards as well (I shared on the board when I found the $40 special at the dentist and when my friends were able to find a nice $600 apartment a short walk from the Vegas Strip).
- I do without, recycle something I already own, repurpose another product, or just wait. Sometimes by waiting you can get the item on sale or clearance instead of paying full price. Also, we needed a food cover for the microwave (it keeps the food from splattering all over when you microwave the food) we went to the dollar store and found a deep, hard plastic bowl, turned it over, and it makes the perfect cover. Finally, I got tired of paying a lot of money for body lotion that is full of chemicals I can’t even pronounce so I went to the store and bought a big jar of coconut oil and it works so well to moisturize my skin (plus the $5 jar will probably last for more than a year!)
Just in the last week or so we have been able to get the following specials just by doing a bit of research or asking: $5 off the Fremont zipline by going there before 5pm, a $10 lifetime pass to all National Parks because hubby is a senior (we saw a sign about this when we went to Red Rock Canyon; the regular entry fee was $7 per car but the next line said that the unlimited use, forever senior pass was only $10. Wow what a deal!). $100 off the cost of the crown from my dentist because I paid cash. An $8 savings at the Goodwill because we were there on blue and white tag day so we looked specifically for these colored tags in order to save 25% off the regular tag price.
Next time you need to spend money ask yourself how you can get the product cheaper. You may be amazed at what you come up with!